Friday, April 28, 2006

It's Hard Out There For A Pimp

Well, maybe not so hard if the johns are republican members of Congress. Harper's magazine is reporting that the limousine company that provided the prostitutes for the Duke Cunningham briber's hotel parties for republican members of the Defense and Intelligence committees, Shirlington Limousine and Transportation of Arlington, Virginia, was rewarded with a $21.2 million contract for shuttle services and transportation support by the Department of Homeland Security. I wonder who steered that through.

As for the parties, they were pretty close to alcohol fueled orgies, with, are you ready for this, pictures. No names have been leaked out yet, but a clue is given to Harper's From Harper's:

I've learned from a well-connected source that those under intense scrutiny by the FBI are current and former lawmakers on Defense and Intelligence committees—including one person who now holds a powerful intelligence post.

One person who is a former lawmaker on the Intelligence committee and now holds a powerful intelligence post? That sounds a lot like current CIA chief Porter Goss.

If Porter Goss was present at these parties, and I'm not certain that he was, although I can't think of anyone else who fits that description, this poses potential peril for our nation. Who knows who holds copies of these pictures which could be used to blackmail Goss to make sure only the "proper" intelligence makes it to the highest levels of our government? Given the present state of the international sex trade, could some of those prostitutes be agents of foreign entities? Could it be the Bush administration itself?

The FBI needs to fast track this investigation, and do it in a very public manner. If Mr. Goss or other members of our nation's most sensitive Congressional Committees were present at these parties, they must be extricated from those positions and have all clearances pulled until this matter is resolved.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Hooker, Line, And Sinker

The Wall St Journal confirms what I had thought when I found out that Duke Cunningham bribers Mitchell Wade and Brent Wilkes had hotel suites rented. They were procuring prostitutes for the Duke and possibly for other members of Congress. From the WSJ:

According to people with knowledge of the investigation, Mr. Wade told investigators that Mr. Cunningham periodically phoned him to request a prostitute, and that Mr. Wade then helped to arrange for one. A limousine driver then picked up the prostitute as well as Mr. Cunningham, and drove them to one of [two] hotel suites, originally at the Watergate Hotel, and subsequently at the Westin Grand.

One question, did Mitchell Wade find somebody with a low enough self esteem to fuck Katherine Harris?

Big Oil v Retailers

With Bill Frist introducing a Senate bill to stop price gouging, I think this is a pretty good time to educate people on exactly how gasoline is sold in this country. The Frist bill is only aimed at retailers, not wholesalers, and while the station you fill your tank at may be labeled BP, Citgo, Shell, or whatever, those companies rarely have any ownership stake in the station.

Most, in fact, nearly all, gas stations are independently owned and simply sign up with a particular brand of gas basically for advertising and to take part in that brand's credit cards. My family owns a gas station / mini-mart / stop and rob. We make approximately a nickle a gallon on the fuel we sell.

At three dollars a gallon, that's a profit margin of about 1-1/2%. Hardly gouging, and if you don't get the right deal with your supplier, the credit card fee eats that up itself. On top of that, without proper security measures such as pay in advance, drive aways make selling gas as a retailer a losing proposition.

Think about this, if a person puts thirty dollars worth of gas in their tank and doesn't pay, we have to sell six hundred gallons of gas just to get even. You have to understand, when you see those enormous big oil profits, they are not made by the retailers.

Now, I'm not going to say that isolated instances of gouging do not occur. I remember a few years ago, there were some and those people were promptly prosecuted under state laws already on the books by Betty Montgomery.

Bill Frist's bill does nothing to address the problem, and is simply political pandering.

The President And The Pump

One of the big problems President Bush has with the high price of gas is that there is virtually nothing he can do about it. The speech he gave the other day gave the impression that he is doing something, even though the remedies he prescribed are simply placebos.

This can only add to the perception that he is incompetent. (I'm sure that if you're reading this you know he is incompetent, but the American public has lagged behind on this issue for some time) What will happen is that when gas prices are still high a few months down the road, Bush will face even lower approval ratings when the average person wonders why Bush hasn't done anything to lower prices.

The Washington Post has an editorial today rightly ripping Bush for not taking steps to avoid this in the first term of his presidency. However, I do have a question for the Post. Where you been? It's nice of you to jump on the bandwagon now, but you should have been pressuring Bush on the fundamental changes that need to be made to step America back from the oil precipice some time back.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Preparing To Scuttle The Ship

Well, it looks like the Ohio republican party is beyond running scared, they're preparing to scuttle the ship. With the threat of losing control of the Apportionment Board that draws Ohio's voting districts, Jon Husted has now decided that politics should be taken out of the equation.

Kind of funny, this is the same thing the republicans fought tooth and nail last year. I guess realization has set in. However, they do need a super majority to get this on the November ballot, so there might be some strange bedfellows in this fight, with safe seaters on both sides of the aisle having to cope with possible tough elections in the future.

Of course, as with any republican legislation, the devil is in the details, and we haven't seen any details. I'm very much for this type of legislation as long as competitiveness is the number one factor in drawing the districts. If it's written any other way, I'm dead against it.

Rove Testifying Before Fitzgerald Today

I think a lot of people have it wrong when they think it's bad for Rove to have to testify today. After all, the story is already out there that he has been cooperating with the investigation.

I think he's there to put the knife in Dick Cheney's back.

Going Overboard

Yes, gas prices are high, but Los Angeles drivers are taking silly measures to offset driving expenses. Apparently, drivers are intentionally running out of gas to take advantage of a publicly funded roadside assistance program which gives the drivers one free gallon of gas. From CNN:

"There was one guy a while back who was stopping every morning and trying to get his one free gallon," said [Ben] Dayan. "I think it is going to be more drastic when the price of gas is closer to $4 a gallon."

Who has the time to wait an hour or so to save three dollars?

Sidenote: Why doesn't Google spell check recognize Los Angeles?

Every Little Bit Helps

President Bush's speech yesterday about the high price of gasoline showed stark disconnect with reality. From Reuters:

Bush also gave U.S. oil companies more time to pay back emergency loans from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to put more oil on the market.

"Our strategic reserve is sufficiently large enough to guard against any major supply disruption over the next few months," he said. "So by deferring deposits until the fall we'll leave a little more oil on the market."

The amount of remaining oil that was scheduled to be delivered to the reserve was 2.1 million barrels in May, which would supply about two hours of the average 21 million barrels of oil the United States consumes each day. "Every little bit helps," Bush said.

Bush called on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to use fully its authority to waive federal clean-burning gasoline rules this summer, and called for a state task force to look in to ways to cut the dozens of so-called boutique fuel blends, which make it harder for refiners to move gasoline supplies to regions hit by shortages.

"When you have an uncoordinated, overly complex set of fuel rules, it tends to cause the price to go up," Bush said.

Where to start? Let's begin by looking at freezing the repayment to the Strategic Petroleum Reserves. What's that I hear, it's a tsunami of excess oil cascading down the street to my house. Hardly, the amount of oil scheduled to be repaid amounts to 00.33% of the oil we will use in May. That won't affect anything, other than saving oil companies money as they won't have to pay back higher priced oil than they borrowed, even though that amount of money is a pittance in oil company terms.

Bush also said that we are going to stop adding to the SPR, a move that he apparently didn't know we made a few months ago. Idiot.

The real concern here is the waving of summer gas regulations. We have these regulations for a reason, smog. And yes, we do have a complex set of fuel rules for that very reason. Look, it's because it's a complex problem, one that Bush doesn't seem to understand. Summer in Miami isn't the same as summer in Maine, or Seattle, or Los Angeles. We have different fuel blends for different weather patterns all over the United States. You can't eliminate these so called boutique fuel blends without creating a lot more smog. I'm sure asthma sufferers all around the country were happy to hear that they might not be able to breathe this summer.

Bush's speech was just symptomatic of the problem that this administration has with governing the country. I'll write about that a little later.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

A Pharmacy Without Pills

Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher wiggled, squirmed, and has finally acquiesced to the religious right. Fletcher now says that he will not veto state funding for a pharmacy for the University of the Cumberlands which recently expelled a student for being opening gay.

Fletcher has waffled back and forth on the issue before announcing that if the courts say it is constitutional for the state to fund a private college, he will allow the school the money. He also noted that this isn't being funded by taxpayer dollars, but this money comes from coal severance taxes paid by coal companies.

None of that matters really. The bottom line is that the state of Kentucky is about to spend $10 million on a pharmacy that has little chance to gain accreditation from the Accreditation Council on Pharmaceutical Education given the school's bigoted behavior, thus the school is planning on building a pharmacy without pills.

This is egregious waste of money considering that Fletcher announced that he also had to cut $370 million from the state's budget.

Monday, April 24, 2006


Blogger seems to finally have this thing fixed.

Darfur Reaching Critical Mass

The situation in Darfur is rapidly reaching critical mass. Following an attack by Sudanese backed rebels on the capital of N'Djamena, the Chadian government has said it will expel the roughly 250,000 refugees by June 30 if international peacekeepers are not brought in to quell the rebels efforts on the Sudanese side of the border.

This would result in a quarter of a million women and children being stampeded to the slaughter house as the janjaweed, an unofficial militia with some ties to the Sudanese government, is waiting there where they will finish the genocide.

In a tape released over the weekend, even Osama bin Laden expressed more interest in the region than the American government has lately. If bin Laden is trying to rally the janjaweed, a mostly Arab militia, doesn't President Bush's statement of fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them here apply? By the way, I don't buy that argument, but you have to get republicans off their ass on this issue somehow.

A joint peacekeeping force from NATO and the African Union should be immediately deployed to the region lest we look back ten years from now and wonder how a second Rwanda occurred.

Mary McCarthy

I only have one thing to say about Mary McCarthy's dismissal from the CIA following a polygraph test. When is Condi going to take one about her role in the AIPAC leak case?

Happy Birthday To Me

Thirty-seven years ago today, an evil spawn was unleashed upon this planet.

It Just Goes On And On And On

Today, the Senate will begin the debate over an $106.5 billion dollar emergency spending bill for Iraq, Afghanistan, and Katrina. You might recall that the Senate passed "reform" legislation the last time they were in session that did not include earmark reform.

Trent Lott of Mississippi has inserted an earmark of $700 million to this emergency spending bill to relocate a rail line for the benefit of the casino industry. The rail line was destroyed by Katrina but has already been rebuilt at a cost of $250 million. I guess that was just the quick fix.

This is a complete give away to an industry that does quite well for itself. The "Big Six" gaming operators are expected to report a profit of $572 million, and that's just in the last quarter. If the casino industry wants the rail line moved, they should pay for it themselves.

There are a lot of projects the federal government needs to be spending money on to move along the rebuilding effort on the gulf coast, this isn't one of them.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Wedding Bells

Ah, it's not a hillbilly wedding until somebody gets stabbed. That's what happened this weekend when Eric Adams grew impatient with the cake cutting ceremony and stabbed the bride's father and brother. I found this part funny. From WCMH-TV4:

Adams, 36, of Plain City, is the bride's stepfather, Tate reported.

After the stabbing, investigators said, Adams allegedly rammed his car to get out of the community center's parking lot. He drove through grass and away from the reception.

A sheriff's deputy at the scene saw the car leave the community center and stopped Adams, investigators said. Adams' wife and 8-year-old granddaughter were also in the car, Tate reported.

Thirty-six years old with an eight year old granddaughter?


Kirk Cameron has found proof of the existence of God. It's the banana. Go watch this idiotic video from about the 2:30 mark to about the 4:30 mark.

Bob Ney Skirting Taxes

Ok, here's the deal with Ney paying his legal fees though his campaign. Ney is paying his fees though his campaign to skirt paying taxes on the money he is paying to the law firm of Vinson & Elkins.

Ney has set up a legal defense fund to help defray the costs of defending his role in the Jack Abramoff scandal, and as an original member of the Jack Pack, he's got a lot of defending to do. Money donated to his legal fund generates tax liability for Ney, while the campaign dollars he spends for legal fees do not.

So, how much money are we talking about? On the $96,500 dollars he spent in the first quarter, Ney would have incurred a federal tax burden of $31,845 and a state tax burden of $7,465. That's a total of $39,310 of taxes Bob Ney has skirted using this loophole. (Note: These figures are based on an individual filing single with no deductions. I don't know what Ney's deduction are.)

As I wrote earlier, Ney has set up a legal defense fund. If he chooses to gain the benefit of high priced legal help, he should direct his donors to donate to it rather than his campaign coffers and pay his fair share of taxes on the benefit he is receiving. Ney needs to stop using campaign money for his legal defense.

This is just another example of Ney using his position in Congress for personal gain. It's far past time we put somebody in this seat that doesn't see a seat in Congress as his own personal slush fund generator.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Ney's Legal Fees

Nearly 40% ($96,500) of Bob Ney's campaign expenditures for this just closed quarter went to pay his attorneys for their work on the Abramoff case. That raises a couple of questions for me.

First of all, who are the chumps still giving Ney that kind of change?

Secondly, and more importantly to me at least, is the money Ney spent on his defense taxable income?

Grover's World

It seems Grover Norquist has failed to pay his property taxes for the first half of the year. Oh, if we could only live in Grover’s dream world with no taxes. A day in that world might look something like this.

Grover awakens in the middle of the night, and he smells smoke. He decides to call Capital 12 Home Security And Fire Protection. After fumbling with the phone book, Norquist dialed.

Welcome to Capital 12 Home Security And Fire Protection, your call will be answered in the order it was received. While you wait on the Pepsi hotline, would you like to earmark a portion of your monthly bill to go to the NRA? If so, please push the pound sign, followed by key code 72648, then star. The NRA, keeping us killing each other since 1871.

The phone is finally answered.

Operator in Indian accented English: Welcome to Capital 12 Home Security And Fire Protection, how may I help you?

Norquist: My house is on fire!

Operator: Do you have your security code?

Norquist: Yes, it’s 24587

Operator: I’m sorry Mr. Norquist, but your account is delinquent.

Norquist: That’s impossible, I sent in the check.

Operator: I’m sorry, perhaps the private courier you used lost the check, have you ever thought about using DHL? DHL offers some of the finest parcel service on the planet.

Norquist: I don’t have time for this nonsense, my house is on fire!

Operator: I’m afraid I can’t help you.

Norquist: Well, can I pay right now with a credit card? cough cough

Operator: Sure, I’ll transfer you to our credit department.

Grover gets put on hold where he ironically hears the musak version of the old Talking Heads song Burning Down The House.

Norquist (mumbling to self): I used to love this song. Cough cough. These guys, cough, certainly knew a thing or two, cough, about the perils of big government.

Twelve minutes later, the credit manager comes on the phone

Manager in Korean accented English: May I help you?

Norquist: Yes, I need to make a payment, quick. My house is on fire!

Manager: How will you be paying?

Norquist: Do you accept Visa?

Manager: No.

Norquist: Mastercard?

Manager: No.

Norquist: American Express?

Manager: No.

Norquist: What the hell do you accept?

Manager: We only accept Discover. We’re a wholly owned subsidiary of Sears, Roebuck, and Company. Home of great Craftsman tools. Craftsman, guaranteed for life.

Norquist: I don’t have a Discover card!

Manager: Do you have a Sears in your neighborhood? Perhaps you could pay in person.

Norquist: It’s three in the morning, and my house is on fire!

Ah, dreams.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


I have to admit, I found this map that show religious adherence by county surprising. Who would have thought that southern Ohio is less religious than northern Ohio? In fact, most of southern Ohio falls in the under 35% adherence bracket

Decider, The Song

The Decider has a song written about him. Listen to it here. WARNING: LOUD

Over The Hill, Now With Charts!

Apparently, I'm too old to be living where I live.

When Are They Coming For You?

Thousands of illegal immigrants rounded up. I only leave you with the words of nazi era priest Martin Niemoller:

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Where O Where Has My Scotty Gone

Scott McCellan has resigned. I'm surprised he lasted this long. It was pretty painful to watch him repeat the same day's buzzword over and over and over and over. You get the idea.

The 30 Second Investigation

Charles Schumer is calling for a federal investigation into the high price of gasoline. I think I can handle that right here.


Oil is $70 a gallon

Senate not doing anything to promote alternative energy


That was simple, wasn't it?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Is Jean Schmidt a flip-flopper? The Cincinnati FOP is looking into it. You see, last year she told the FOP that she supported capital punishment. This year, when she filled out a questionnaire for a suburban republican club, she answered that she opposes death sentences. I actually wonder if Schmidt know that capital punishment and the death penalty are the same thing.

Her response so far? From Openers:

When the police union sought clarification, Harrell said, Schmidt's office faxed the federal criminal code about capital punishment and a statement saying the congresswoman favors execution of terrorists.

That's far from answering the question.

Openers also has a funny story about Schmidt. When she decided to skip the Anderson Township Republican Club's candidate debate, the club actually invited Rachel Dratch, who infamously played Schmidt on SNL, to step in for her. Unfortunately, she also declined to attend. That would have been hilarious.

Carl Bernstein

Carl Bernstein has a long piece in the new Vanity Fair calling for Congress to investigate the Bush administration before the mid-term elections. Good luck. Anyway, if you want to read the long form of what I write here in short form everyday, it's available here.

Rummy And The Bets

I wouldn't bet on Donald Rumsfeld going anywhere anytime soon. Even still, the Washington Post calls for his head today in a strange sort of acknowledgement, yet dismissal of the six generals who have came to the public with their thoughts on Rumsfeld.

The next to last paragraph of the editorial contains three separate things I would like to address. First this From the Washington Post:

Much of their analysis strikes us as solid -- but the rebellion is problematic nonetheless. It threatens the essential democratic principle of military subordination to civilian control -- the more so because a couple of the officers claim they are speaking for some still on active duty.

This is just wrong. It is, in fact, the essence of the democratic principle of military subordination to civilian control. These retired generals are simply speaking what they see as the truth to the public, ie. the electorate. If anything, with this administration being so secretive, this strengthens the citizenry's control over the military because ultimately, an informed electorate can more effectively use the power of the ballot to decide what direction the military takes.

Military officers take an oath to the Constitution, and in that sense the people, not their superiors. If those superiors, who serve at the public's leisure are thought to be incompetent, we deserve expert opinion as to what to do about it.
Secondly, this from the Post:

Anyone who protested the pushback of uniformed military against President Bill Clinton's attempt to allow gays to serve ought to also object to generals who criticize the decisions of a president and his defense secretary in wartime.

Think what you want about gays in the military, but I don't equate intolerance with incompetence in wartime. The stakes are too high here. One is a social issue, the other one gets Americans sent home in bags.

And lastly from the Post:

If they are successful in forcing Mr. Rumsfeld's resignation, they will set an ugly precedent. Will future defense secretaries have to worry about potential rebellions by their brass, and will they start to choose commanders according to calculations of political loyalty?

Ask former general Eric Shinseki, this administration already chooses its commanders that way. That doesn't mean future, more competent, administrations will.

One further thing about this last section. If the Washington Post is worried about these generals being successful in forcing Rumsfeld out, why do they pile on him at thus time as well?

Monday, April 17, 2006

Retired Generals

To expound a bit on Atrios' take on retired generals. From Atrios:

I really don't understand the handwringing about whether the speaking out by retired generals undermines civilian control of the military. They're retired. No one raises this issue when they say nice things about the administration.

Um, in addition to that, haven't twelve former generals went on to be President Of the United States? Using this logic, wouldn't those twelve have completely usurped the civilian control of the military.

Of course not, but using this gasoline soaked straw man is about all they have left to defend Rumsfeld with.


Let the carpet-bombing begin! No, I'm not talking about Iran. I'm talking about the three million dollars worth of attack ads that Ohio Gubernatorial republican candidates are preparing to throw at us for the last two weeks of the primary campaign. The ads start today, but I've yet to see one.

I still think that this barrage of ads helps Ken Blackwell more than it does Jim Petro. Petro is going to need a large turnout in the primary to beat Blackwell and his merry band of loony tunes, and all these negative ads, combined with a republican party that is already in disarray, gives the edge to Blackwell as I expect turnout to be low.

Petro is in a spot where he's damned if he does, and damned if he doesn't. He better have some really good late dirt to throw at Blackwell if he has a chance.

Spying For Dollars

Mike DeWine is trying in this election to portray himself as independent from George Bush and his low thirties approval rating. Kind of funny place to be for a guy that Bush raised $1.1 million dollars for at a February fundraiser in Cincinnati. In fact, DeWine also reaped in an as yet unknown amount of money from a DC based fundraiser attended by Dick Cheney. That means roughly half of the money DeWine raised in the just closed first quarter came from DeWine's White House sponsors.

It should also be noted, that after these fundraisers, DeWine started pushing his long languishing bill that is sitting in the Judiciary Committee to give the administration expanded powers in their illegal wiretapping program. Make no mistake, a vote for Mike DeWine equals a vote for George Bush and his ever greater attempt to consolidate power in the executive branch.

Who knows, if Bush raises DeWine some more money, he might vote to make Bush king.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Crazy CA-50

California has always had crazy elections with numerous initiatives clogging the ballot, but the CA-50 race this year might be the nuttiest of all. On June 6th, there is a special run-off to complete imprisoned Duke Cunningham's term between Francis Busby and Brian Bilbray.

On that same day, both candidates must also compete in a primary for the fall election, and some of the of the other republicans that competed in the special election run-off primary have said they haven't ruled out a run against Bilbray in the primary for the fall election.

What this sets up is there is a chance that Bilbray could win the rest of Cunningham's term and lose the primary for the chance to run for the new term in the fall on the same day. Talk about a lame duck, he wouldn't even have time to decorate his office.

I would guess the republican party would work to clear the field for Bilbray in the primary election, but you never know what's going to happen with these guys, so we'll see. Howard Kaloogian has said for instance that he will choose whatever door God opens for him. If you're that nutty, anything is possible.

If the field isn't cleared, Bilbray may face a challenge from the left and the right on the same day. I'm not really sure how that would affect him in the special run-off, but it can't be good.

Gotta love those strange California elections.

Joan d'Arc She Ain't

The latest Rasmussen poll shows Katherine Harris' mission from God campaign message isn't playing very well. She trails incumbent Bill Nelson by a staggering thirty points (57-27).

Of course, this isn't surprising, since the Florida newspapers have been burning her campaign at the stake for the last two months and all of her top notch advisers have bailed on her.

Come on Katherine, please stay in this race. Oh, and please throw in that $10 million of your own money you pledged to the race.

Keeping You Safe: ATF Edition bring us this article about the ATF taking down a shadowy black clad assassin of the night. From

ATF agents are always on alert for anything suspicious — including ninjas.

Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearm agents, on campus Tuesday for Project Safe Neighborhoods training, detained a “suspicious individual” near the Georgia Center, University Police Chief Jimmy Williamson said.

Jeremiah Ransom, a sophomore from Macon, was leaving a Wesley Foundation pirate vs. ninja event when he was detained.

It's unclear from the article whether or not the Coast Guard was called in, and whether any pirates were detained. Of course there's an excellent possibility the ninja killed all the pirates, so it might not have been necessary.

Fucking ninjas. Better add some new provisions to the Patriot Act.


For once, I agree with crazy Tom Coburn (R-OK). Shudder. From Raw Story:

"In the wake of the Abramoff and Cunningham scandals Congress could have crafted serious reform legislation," Coburn continued. "Unfortunately, the Senate put public relations ahead of real reform and chose to wash the outside of the cup while leaving the inside filthy."

With the vote passing 90-8, both parties are complicit in not passing more serious reform.

In other Coburn news, at a recent town hall meeting, he said he expects six members of the House to move to the big house, along with one fellow Senator.

Ugh, now I'm hoping Coburn is correct about something. Time for a shower. How am I going to wash this feeling off of me?

Good Leak, Bad Leak

The New York Times editorial board takes an obvious swipe at the Washington Post editorial board in an editorial entitled "A Bad Leak." If you recall, I had said that WAPO's editorial, "A Good Leak", must have been a late April Fool's Day joke.

Anyway, go read the whole thing here.

Flu Plan

The White House is preparing to release its plan to counter a flu pandemic. At a scant 240 pages, I'm guessing that it is pretty light on details. It's probably more of a outline to let government agencies know what they should plan to do.

Suffice to say, it's good first step. But without extensive "war gaming" of individual agencies, what the GAO fears is exactly what will happen. From the Washington Post:

"Our biggest concern is whether an agency has a clear idea of what it absolutely has to do, no matter what," said Linda Koontz, director of information management issues at the GAO. "Some had three and some had 400 essential functions. We raised questions about whether 400 were really essential."

In several cases, agencies never trained for or rehearsed emergency plans, she said, causing concern that when disaster strikes, "people will be sitting there with a 500-page book in front of them."

That's probably exactly what will happen should the nation ever face another flu pandemic, unless the White House orders something akin to national disaster preparedness drills. Something I don't expect it to do. We'll see.

Friday, April 14, 2006

The RNC Is Can Now Be Classified As A Terrorist Organization

That's a pretty bold claim, isn't it? Let's take a look at the reasoning behind it.

The Department Of Homeland Security has issued a new security bulletin which lists the following tactics that eco-terrorists might employ. From TPM Muckraker:

- "organizing protests"
- "flyer distribution"
- "inundating computers with e-mails"
- "tying up phone lines to prevent legitimate calls"
- "sending continuous faxes in order to drain the ink supply from company fax machines"

The common name for the bold portion is called phone jamming, and the RNC has been paying for the defense of James Tobin, who ran a phone jamming operation during the 2002 New Hampshire Senatorial election while working for the RNC.

So there you have it. An employee of the RNC engages in what DHS says is a known terrorist tactic, and then they pays his attorney. A clear cut case of an organization with terrorist ties. I guess the Justice Department should immediately freeze all their assets.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Ghost From The Past

Well, the first 2008 Democratic candidate for President of the United States has thrown his hat into the ring. It's former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel.

Gravel is too old to be considered a serious candidate, he'll be 78 on election day, but he is one of the people responsible for the publication of the Pentagon Papers, so I have a feeling he's coming back to throw bombs at the current administration and its war.

Should be fun.

Church And State

Bill O'Reilly recently interviewed author Jon Meacham about this silly War on Christianity O'Reilly claims is occurring in America. Ironically, while trying to agree with O'Reilly, Meacham said the following which actually supports the claims of secularists. From The Bill O'Reilly Show:

Bill O'Reilly: "So you're firmly convinced based upon your research that the founders would not approve of the ACLU jihad, pardon the pun, against Judeo-Christian tradition in this country?"

Jon Meacham: "No, I don't think so at all. I think that what they wanted was religion in the country. They didn't want it coercive. They did not want it forced on people, because largely for religious reasons. The religious argument for religious freedom is that if God himself did not compel obedience, then no man should try."

Isn't this the same argument we secularists make for the separation of church and state?

Really Funny

I don't know if you have been following the trial of the Redskin's Sean Taylor, but his attorneys filed a motion to have the prosecutor removed because of his side job as a DJ. I don't care what happens to Taylor, but the prosecutor, Michael Greico, has a My Space website that you have to check out. It's now defunct, but available though Google's cache feature here.

I'm guessing Mr. Greico's career as a prosecutor is over.

Buy This

I haven't pimped any music for a while, but I highly recommend the upcoming release by Gnarls Barkley titled St. Elsewhere. US release date May 9th.


Well, here's something you don't see everyday. Ohio House 82 Democratic candidate Willie Pickens has withdrawn from the race after being arrested for robbery and abduction.

Didn't somebody tell Willie that you don't start stealing until after you get elected.

16 Days

I didn't get a chance yesterday to comment on, no, mock this headline from Bloomberg:

Iran Could Produce Nuclear Bomb in 16 Days, U.S. Says

Technically, that's true. It's also true that I myself could produce enough enriched uranium to produce a nuclear bomb in 16 days. Oh, and by the way, I'm not signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty either. Of course, you would have to spot me the ten years I would need to build a 54,000 tube industrial grade centrifuge plant. (Eight years if I can skirt those pesky OSHA regulations)

Now, Iran is a little farther along in the process than I am. (I have a little undocumented worker problem, and I also am sorely underfunded.) Where Iran is ahead of me is that they have built a little 164 tube pilot plant. You always build a pilot plant before going full scale because you don't want to build an entire industrial grade plant only to find out it isn't going to work. That will cost you your job, and in Iran, probably a lot more.

Iran's 164 tube pilot plant would need about fourteen years to produce enough enriched uranium for a single nuclear weapon, and that's with no down time. That's what's so ridiculous about the Bloomberg title. Iran is moving forward on completing a full industrial grade centrifuge plant that would allow them to crank out enriched uranium at that pace, but they are a couple of years from completion. This isn't a today problem, we have a couple of years before bombing becomes necessary. Keep in mind that I'm not saying that force might not eventually become necessary, but we have time to lean on them.


Heh, Hitch calls Rich Colin's bitch. Here's the video.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Manipulate, Disseminate, Rinse, Repeat

It's one thing to have manipulated the intelligence around the mobile biolab trailers prior to the invasion of Iraq. There was varying reports as to what they actually were. It's quite another thing however, to replace fact with fiction in regards to the same trailers when you have the final report proclaiming them to be hydrogen manufacturing units, despite pressure from the DIA to report the contrary, to say your rationale was correct.

That's exactly what President Bush did though. Two days after the final report on the trailers was completed on May 29, 2003, Bush told the American people that proof of mobile biolabs had been found in Iraq. The administration flat out lied to us.

The report was classified and put on a shelf, never to see the light of day until members of the crack team that wrote the report decided to talk to the Washington Post. They have the story in today's edition.

Yes, you may ask, but how easy would it be to convert them to mobile biolabs? From the Washington Post:

"It would be easier to start all over with just a bucket," said Rod Barton, an Australian biological weapons expert and former member of the survey group.

The team that wrote the report came to refer to the trailers as "the biggest sand toilets in the world."

This administration only admits the truth when cornered with proof.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Cheney Forgot Boo Repellent

While George Bush remembered his boo repellent in the form of wounded American soldiers to throw out his opening day first pitch, Dick did not. Cheney was roundly booed as he threw out the ceremonious first pitch at the Nationals home opener today.

Video here.


A lot has been made in the left blogosphere about the following post by George Conway of the NRO's Reconcilable Differences blog. From Reconcilable Differences:

I'm disgruntled, too, and I'm going to get it all of my chest this morning: I've never voted for a Democrat in a general election in my life, and I don't expect to anytime soon, but it's been impossible for me over the past couple of years to get enthused about the Republican party. I voted for President Bush twice, and contributed to his campaign twice, but held my nose when I did it the second time. I don't consider myself a Republican any longer. Thanks to this Administration and the Republicans in Congress, the Republican Party today is the party of pork-barrel spending, Congressional corruption — and, I know folks on this web site don't want to hear it, but deep down they know it's true — foreign and military policy incompetence. Frankly, speaking of incompetence, I think this Administration is the most politically and substantively inept that the nation has had in over a quarter of a century. The good news about it, as far as I'm concerned, is that it's almost over.

I wonder if Conway would be crooning this tune if President Bush's, or for that matter republicans in general, approval ratings weren't so bad. I suspect not. Some other conservatives have been banging the incompetent drum lately as well, but I think it has to do a lot more with fear of losing the House or Senate than actual outrage over poor policy.

Perhaps Conway's view of modern republicans was initially obscured by the blind joy of capturing all three branches of government, but the elected republicans have been consistent since day one when Bush took office. I don't recall any conservative pundits trying to correct the course in the days of high Bush approval ratings. No, only coping with the possibility of the loss of power brings them out from under the partisan rug.

Only now do they choose not to associate with their brethren, to point their fingers at their elected colleagues' failures, to raise their noses above "faux conservatives."

Well, I'm sorry. You were complicit with your silence, and when the piper comes to collect his pay from your movement, you'd better be ready to ante up.

Quill Out

Hugh Quill has dropped out of the Democratic primary for the State Treasurer's office leaving Rich Cordray to challenge probable republican primary winner Janette Bradley.


The Fix has polling for the Democratic primary in OH-18. It is internal polling done by Zack Space's campaign, so as with any internal polling, take it with a grain of salt.

The polling , done by pollster Alan Secrest show Space leading the four way race with 22%, followed by Ralph Applegate with 12%, Joe Sulzer with 11%, and Jennifer Stewart with 8%.

This race is going to come down to Space and Sulzer, with Sulzer getting hurt right now by an anemic 19% name ID. Sulzer does have three times the money on hand that Space does to make the push to the May 2nd primary, but this one is going to be close. Whoever wins is going to do so with only a plurality, so the winner will still be facing an uphill battle should Bob Ney manage to escape the noose of a federal investigation, although I see that as very unlikely to happen.

An Interesting Proposal

Over at, guest essayist Brent Budowsky has an interesting proposal for the 2008 Democratic ticket. He suggests a unity ticket featuring Al Gore in the top spot with Anthony Zinni running as the veep.

Budowsky reasons that Gore could rally the Democratic base while Zinni could give the ticket the Middle East bona fides that would lure Independents fed up with republican policy in that region.

This is indeed an interesting approach, I must say. With Gore's work on global warming since the 2000 election, he should be able to stave off any challenge from the left in the primary, and keep the left from splitting off in the general, where roughly 100,000 of their votes for Ralph Nader in Florida cost him the election in 2000, although I think Florida will be a continually harder prize for Democrats to win unless seniors get seriously fed up with republicans, but that's another story.

Gore and Zinni also both took the smart position on Iraq before things went to shit, as well. From

On Oct. 10, 2002, responding to those eager for war, Zinni said, “I’m not sure which planet they live on, because it isn't the one that I travel in.” Warning that President Bush and Vice-President Cheney were underestimating the difficulty of establishing a new government in Iraq after an invasion, he said, “God help us, if we think this transition will occur easily.”

Gore was equally prescient, warning in a speech on Sept. 23, 2002, “that the course of action that we are presently embarking upon with respect to Iraq has the potential to seriously damage our ability to win the war against terrorism and to weaken our ability to lead the world in this new century.”

The war in Iraq isn't likely to make any new friends in the next couple of years, so these positions should sell pretty well to independents.

But I think that the one thing that intrigues me the most about this possibility is that somebody is finally talking about winning with Democratic ideas rather than trying to find a way to fracture the republican coalition. It's not wedge politics, in fact, it's the opposite. This ticket has the opportunity to run as a reform, tough on defense, smart global policy ticket. That appeals quite a bit to me.

Anyway, go read the whole thing here.

Monday, April 10, 2006

No Sympathy Whatsoever

Listen to these whiners who gave money to Tom Delay that he is now converting to his legal defense fund. From Roll Call via Raw Story:

“If I wanted to give to a legal fund, I would’ve done it directly,” snarled one GOP lobbyist who refused to have his name attached to such callous-sounding sentiments, even if DeLay is leaving Congress.

Another lobbyist who gives to Members on both sides of the aisle said, “It’s nauseating to think about” his campaign contribution going to fund DeLay’s legal team. “I’m realistic about it. He wouldn’t resign for no reason,” this lobbyist said, noting that the timing of DeLay’s departure came awfully close to the announcement of a plea agreement by his former aide Tony Rudy. “That all this money will go to the legal defense fund, it sickens me,” he added. “I have to pay for that?”

Wah! If these guys didn't know exactly what Delay was up too, then they are fools. Let me give them a heads up on another member of the House that is doing exactly the same thing. He's Bob Ney.

Kids Say The Darnedest Things

One of the problems with letting President Bush field unscripted questions is that sometimes he can be stumped by a child. Here's a link to the video.

April Fool's Day

Apparently, the Washington Post thinks that April Fool's Day falls on April 9th, not April 1st. That's the only possible reason the post chose to run this Op-Ed piece in yesterday's paper. A deceptively leaked fraudulent rationale for an unnecessary war that has costs Americans thousands of killed and maimed men and women, and hundreds of billions of dollars is not a "good leak."

Friday, April 07, 2006

Wind Deal Dead

This pisses me off. Ted Kennedy has gotten together with Ted Stevens to get veto power for the Governor of Massachusetts inserted into a Coast Guard re-authorization bill that will effectively scuttle a planned Wind Farm in Nantucket Sound.

Current Governor Mitt Romney has said he will use the veto, as have four of the five candidates to replace him.

Oh well, after we bomb Iran and oil goes to about $150 a barrel, we'll see how much these fuckers hate the wind farm.

Pot, Meet Kettle

When pushed about the President's involvement in the leaking of Valerie Plame during his press briefing today, Scott McCellan actually said this:

Well, and I talked about the distinction that is involved here. And Democrats who refuse to acknowledge that distinction are simply engaging in crass politics.

I would have to think leaking a CIA covert operative's name for the sake of politics is fairly crass as well.

Sample Ballots

The 2006 ballot in Ohio is going to be a very busy one. We have eight statewide races and numerous down ticket races so I'd like to take the opportunity to address a problem we have as far as sample ballots go in Ohio.

It's actually a county party issue, as the down ticket races are going to vary from location to location, but the State Party Chair needs to lean on the county chairs to make sure this gets done. What I'm talking about is Democratic sample ballots at the poll handed out by volunteers.

I discovered the need for this in 2004 when I worked for the Kerry campaign as a part of the Ohio Voter Protection program. Several people asked me if I had sample ballots for them. I of course, did not. One woman in particular wanted to know why the hell I would drag my sorry ass out for a day in the rain with no sample ballots to hand out. I had to concede that she was right.

Now there are a little over 11,000 precincts in Ohio, but in the cities, precincts are often bunched together at one voting location. You could probably cover every precinct in Ohio with about 5,000 people.

Having sample ballots handed out at polling locations is of critical importance in down ticket races, plus it speeds up voting which helps keep the lines moving.

You can mail them people all you want, but it's cheaper to hand them out at the polls, and they are never forgotten.

Leaker In Chief

Well, it's clear now that President Bush and Dick Cheney had full working knowledge of the Valerie Plame leak. They authorized the leak. They haven't denied it after Fitzgerald's report, at least as of yet. From the Washington Post:

The White House did not challenge the prosecutor's account of Bush's and Cheney's role in orchestrating the effort to discredit Wilson yesterday. Both Bush and Cheney have been interviewed by Fitzgerald, but the details of what they told him are unknown. Fitzgerald's new account is based on Libby's grand jury testimony that Cheney told him Bush had authorized the declassification and disclosure of some of the information.

What's still unclear is whether or not Scooter Libby was smart enough get that authorization in writing. That would be the smoking gun. I'm guessing he didn't. These guys seem pretty lazy when it comes to due diligence.

I guess the President does have the authority to declassify information, even if it is for something as shady as attacking a critic. That's not the important thing involved here. What's important is that the President on at least eight occasions lied to the American people about his involvement, and trust was the only thing that got him re-elected.

Will his poll numbers take a hit? I don't know, there's gotta be a floor out there somewhere to bottom out at, and I don't think that rock bottom could be much lower than thirty percent.

Counting On Cuyahoga

In the wake of indictments by special prosecutor Kevin Baxter over the 2004 recount, the Democratic members of the Cuyahoga County Board Of Elections, Edward C. Coaxum, Jr. and Loree K. Soggs, should demand the resignation of the three members indicted plus that of executive director Michael Vu.

Upon receipt of these resignations, they themselves should tender their own resignations to the board. If these members were unaware of the mischief in the recount, they weren't doing their jobs, if they did know they were obviously complicit. Action taken by the Cuyahoga Democratic party in this case must be both swift and serious. It is imperative to Democratic voters that they know that their votes will be counted even if the results are irrelevant, and Cuyahoga County has the most Democratic voters in the state. The party must do their part to force the resignations if they aren't offered voluntarily.

Breaking News

The sun came up, grass grew, paint dried, and a suicide bomber blew himself up in Iraq. Do any of these really merit running a red band declaring breaking news at the top of their page anymore?


Murphy's law of blogging: Take a day away and feces throwing monkeys will attack fans everywhere.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Yard Signs

I saw my first yard sign of the political season today on my way to work. It was for Bob Ney in the OH-18 race. A note for the Ney campaign, green, the color of money, is probably a bad color choice when your candidate is a habitual bribe recipient.

Actually, the signs are really bad in general. Green with the candidate's name in white, that's pretty hard to read. I had to stare at the sign to see who it was for as I was driving by. You should always put the candidate's name in color, it gives the sign more punch.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Curt Weldon

Curt Weldon is prone to saying some loony things, but I think he might have cut his own throat this time. Weldon attacked his opponent for the horrible act of choosing a hospital in Washington DC for treatment of his daughter's brain tumor. From The Hill:

Weldon attacked Sestak’s decision to continue owning a home in Virginia while only renting in Pennsylvania and questioned why Sestak did not move back to Pennsylvania when he was working at the Pentagon. Weldon commutes from Pennsylvania each day.

Weldon also suggested Sestak should have sent his daughter to a hospital in Philadelphia or Delaware, rather than the Washington hospital. Sestak said that as soon as doctors give his daughter the all-clear, he’ll buy in Pennsylvania.

Sometimes negative attacks backfire, and I'm pretty sure this is going to be one of those times. Attacking your opponent for choosing the best health care for his children is not going to sit well with the voters of Pennsylvania.

We've all known that Weldon is a nut, now we know he's just plain stupid as well.

Found via Atrios

Going Legit

Apple will introduce new software that will allow Windows users to install Windows XP on to the new Intel chipped Apple computers. Hackers had already figured it out how to do it, but this will make the process simpler.

I wish this had happened six months ago before I got my new laptop that I'm really not all that happy with.


This year looks like it is going to be very expensive for republicans, in both seats lost and money spent. Want to know how bad it is for republicans? Check out how much money the NRCC is dumping into Duke Cunningham's old seat just to make sure one of their candidates makes it into a runoff in the special election to replace him. From the Stakeholder:

Public information, but not online: NRCC just bought $360,665 worth of ads in the district. 925 points, meaning the average targeted voter will see their ad 9-10 times before election day.

That's a 925 point buy in a district where registered republicans outnumber registered Democrats by sixteen points (46R/30D/24I). Ouch, that's gotta hurt.


After reading the following paragraph over at Atrios on Monday, I started wondering about Alan Greenspan's book deal. From Atrios:

When they refinanced their home two years ago to pay off some bills, Robert, now 78, was working as a deliveryman. But his employer went out of business last April. Now he and Lorraine, 72, a retired nurse, are both seeking work. The rate on their mortgage has jumped from 7% to 10.5%.

Perhaps when they refinanced their mortgage two years ago, they did it on the advise of Alan Greenspan. At the time, the dust from the mortgage boom was settling, and it had pumped about $1 trillion dollars into the US economy. Money was cheap, probably the cheapest we'll ever see in my lifetime. A lot of people had locked their mortgages in at record low fixed interest rates.

Then, as the boom was ending, Greenspan gave what I have to believe to be the stupidest advise I've ever heard in my life. People needed to abandon their fixed interest loans for adjustable rate mortgages to give them financial "flexibility." This was insane, and most reasonable economists said so at the time. It would however pump more money into the US economy.

Here's the thing though, Greenspan isn't an idiot. sure, he's hack and a yes man, but he's not dumb. The question I have is did Greenspan say this to try to keep the refinancing boom going to support the economy long enough for him to reap a seven figure book deal that awaited him after his retirement?

The book deal doubled his reported net worth, and Greenspan hasn't been shy about accepting speaking fees since his retirement either. He recently accented $250,000 from Lehman Brothers as an appearance fee.

Do, did Greenspan give the housing bubble a little more elasticity just for the sake of personal gain?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Ken Blackwell

I have a few thoughts on the whole Ken Blackwell / Diebold stock issue. I don't know, and honestly doubt there were any improprieties but lets take a look at a couple of the issues involved.

First of all, to the layman, it looks bad. Buying an strange number of shares (178) with an amount that comes in at just under $10,000 has the smell of impropriety. It looks like he was trying to avoid some kind of reporting limit, especially when you're tight with the CEO, and allegations of him conducting inside trading have been made. In reality, it was probably part of a larger buy for other clients by the fund manager.

Secondly, this paragraph from the Dispatch:

Blackwell said that a past manager was given verbal instructions about stocks to avoid. But Blackwell changed managers at the end of 2004, and the new one did not follow those instructions and bought 178 shares of Diebold stock in January 2005 for $53.67 a share, or $9,553.

As an elected official, you don't do anything that is going to be on the up and up verbally. So this as well looks bad. When Blackwell switched fund managers, he damn well knows that he again should have submitted the stocks he wished to avoid in writing to cover his ass from any future problems like this. Also, unlike most politicians in a position to influence business, Blackwell's portfolio wasn't in a blind trust. It's just sloppy to not be concerned about the appearance of propriety of his portfolio.

After The Dawn

Now that Tom Delay's dark days in Congress are coming to an end, what's next? Apparently in Texas, the governor has the option whether or not to call a special election and that's a tricky issue for the republicans. They can only do it after Delay is removed from the ballot, which can only be done if he is convicted of a felony, dies, or moves from the district. That's why he plans to change his residence to Alexandria, Va.

It would probably be a mistake to call a special election with a general election only seven months away. Democrats, with big help from the netroots, have done very well in special elections recently, and a close race or Dem win, it would hurt their chances in the fall to retain Delay's seat in this republican leaning (55%) district. Hopefully a Delay hangover will still influence this race. A credible Democratic candidate in Nick Lampson should make this race competitive anyway.

As for what Delay is going to do, I look for him to use some of his re-elction money for legal defense, and spread the rest around to colleagues. Then it's off to jail, or to collect on owed favors. No matter what Delay says, I think the feds must be getting awfully close to him.

Monday, April 03, 2006

The Hammer Bangs No More

Tom Delay is dropping out of his re-election race tell House allies that the race is unwinnable. From the Washington Post:

Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), a primary architect of the House Republican majority who became one of the most powerful and feared leaders in Washington, told House allies Monday night he will step down from the House rather than face a reelection fight that appears increasingly unwinnable.

Well, the chief rat in the House has now jumped ship, and for him to do so, you'd have to think a federal indictment is in his near future, especially when you consider that Abramoff is only has ninety days to wrap up his help the prosecution before he heads off to jail.

I had wondered how long Delay would hang around even if he didn't face further legal problems. It's tough to go from running the House to being just another schmuck Congressman.

The good news just keeps rolling in this election year.

Moussaoui Verdict In

The Moussaoui verdict is in as to whether he is eligible for the death penalty and will be returned in a few minutes (4:00PM). I'm going to take a flyer and say that he will be eligible.

Bill Frist

I think Charlie Cook is on board with my assertion that Bill Frist is such a stiff that he has no chance of ever becoming President. From The New York Times:

"The most classic case of the Peter Principle I've ever seen in American politics," Mr. Cook said, in an uncharacteristically brutal assessment. "In a business where eloquence and rhetoric is important, he is a man of no talent whatsoever."

That's about as blunt as it gets, it's grammatically incorrect, but still blunt. Please let this guy get the republican nomination in 2008.

Boo Repellant

I was wondering how much booing there would be when President Bush took to the mound in Cincinnati to throw out the first pitch. Cincinnati is a pretty conservative town, but with an approval rating in the low thirties I thought there would have to be a few. Fortunately for him, he brought along a little boo repellent. From the Cincinnati Enquirer Opening Day Blog:

Bush came out to loud cheers and applause from the sellout crowd, and was accompanied by two wounded Iraq veterans - Paul Brondhaver, of Union Township, and Sgt. First Class Michael McNaughton, of Louisiana, who lost a leg in Iraq and met Bush last year in an army hospital.

No matter how much you hate the guy, you can't boo when he comes out with two wounded vets. Pretty smart move by his PR team.


For those of you that are locals, Ramji arrived in town last night and Julie will arrive on Thursday. Saturday, there is a party at MK's house in their honor. E-mail me if you need directions.


You want good news about Iraq, you got it. Conservatives have been bemoaning the fact that the media is not reporting the good news about the reconstruction projects, but today's Washington Post lays it out for them. From the Post:

A reconstruction contract for the building of 142 primary health centers across Iraq is running out of money, after two years and roughly $200 million, with no more than 20 clinics now expected to be completed, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says.

There you have it, a whopping 14% completion rate. We are doing a little better with sanitation and water projects at 36% (49-136) and electrical projects 71% (300-425). Not bad for $18.4 billion dollars, huh.

Rick Santorum

It's a dirty little secret, but I'm actually going to miss Rick Santorum when he gets beat by Bob Casey this fall. I love to watch his speeches because they are so batshit insane, they're truly funny. Santorum Exposed has video up for Ricky's latest gem. He basically says that Western Europe is "being overrun from overseas" presumably by brown people because Europeans aren't keen enough on Jesus. I especially like the way Santorum shudders when he says this.

I guess Rick's message to Pennsylvanians in the middle of this immigration debate is that the brown people will over run you too if you don't get a little keener on Jesus, so what are you going to do about it, whitey?

Anyway, go watch the video here, because you don't have a lot of time left to catch Ricky's road show. The tour ends November 7 at a ballot box near you.

The New York Times

Note to New York Times online management: Fire web designer.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Iran And Terror

The Washington Post has a story about the possibilities of Iran sponsoring terrorism in response to an attack on their nuclear program. While that could happen, I'm a little more worried about two new military developments the Iranians have showed off in the last couple of days.

First, they showed off a new missile that they claim can avoid anti-missile defenses and can reach Israel, and more importantly, Saudi oil processing facilities.

Now today we find out that they have developed a new high speed torpedo that can reach speeds of 360 kilometers per hour and can be fired from portable launchers from land. With these, they can effectively shut down the Straight Of Hormuz whenever they want.

The Iranians have said they won't use oil as a weapon, I find that hard to believe. It's just too effective a strategy to use as a defense for their country.

Found via Shockwave over at Kos

Letting Bush Be Bush

I'm not sure the White House's new strategy of letting Bush be Bush is going to help his approval ratings any, and in fact, it might hurt him. From the Washington Post:

As he takes to the road to salvage his presidency, Bush is letting down his guard and playing up his anti-intellectual, regular-guy image. Where he spent last year in rehearsed forums with select supporters, these days he is more frequently throwing aside the script and opening himself to questions from audiences that are not prescreened. These sessions have put a sometimes playful, sometimes awkward side back on display after years of trying to keep it under control to appear more presidential.

The problem with this is that he isn't going to sway the public with likeability, those people are already cemented in their love or hate of him. He needs to convince the public that he is competent to do the job, which they currently aren't. Playing up his anti-intellectualism isn't going to help him, that's the reason his numbers are in the tank anyway, because he is, you know, stupid.

The White House can spin this any way they want, but the fact is they're letting stupid be stupid.

Katherine Harris

Katherine Harris gave her staff until 5:00PM today to decide if they wanted to continue on with her campaign, and decide they did. All of the remaining senior staff members have resigned. From the Orlando Sentinel:

"These changes have been part a thoughtful process at the highest strategic levels of my campaign. We are stronger as a campaign today than we were yesterday."

Former campaign manager Jim Dornan, who resigned in November, disagreed with the assessment.

"She had the best people in the country," he said. "She can't get any better than that. This is a campaign that is spiraling downward by the minute, and the smartest thing for her to do would be to get out of the race."

"Katherine's trying to run it and a candidate can't run her own campaign. It's foolish for her to try," Dornan said.

Among those resigning from the campaign were Ed Rollins, a political adviser to President Reagan and others; campaign manager Jamie Miller, who replaced Dornan; and press secretary Morgan Dobbs.

My understanding of the problems facing the Harris campaign is that she simply would not listen to any of her advisers, instead favoring the views put forward by her loony spiritual adviser Dale Burroughs. That's not gonna change when these people are replaced.

It's a shame there isn't a little more "Dr. Dale" to go around.

DomiNoe, DC Style

The Toledo Blade has a story today about Tom Noe's dealings in Washington. It looks like Noe was rapidly working his way through DC the same way he worked through the state republican party. The White House created a new committee for Noe to chair, and Mike Oxley changed the rules to allow him to get that chairmanship From The Toledo Blade:

In April, 2003, President Bush signed a bill establishing the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee, which replaced the Citizens Commemorative Coinage Advisory Committee, a panel that advised the treasury secretary on commemorative coin designs.

According to e-mails, the White House played a key role in helping Mr. Noe win a seat on the newly minted committee.

Officially, House Speaker Hastert, an Illinois Republican, recommended Mr. Noe to Treasury Secretary Snow, but an e-mail from Ms. Marchessault to Kim Nickles, a treasury liaison to the White House, revealed that Mr. Noe was an “original White House recommendation,” whom she was “finally able to get on the committee through the congressional recommendations.”

In February, 2003, during a visit to the White House, Mr. Noe was expected to take part in an “Ohio political strategy session” with Karl Rove, who is considered the architect of President Bush’s political career, and Ken Mehlman, who was later named the President’s campaign manager.

The legislation that created the new coinage committee — which passed through the House Financial Services Committee chaired by Congressman Oxley (R., Findlay) — changed the rules for selecting the panel’s chairman, making it easier for someone such as Mr. Noe to become the leader.

Under the new rules, the chairman was picked by the treasury secretary rather than by members of the committee.

Now, the position isn't a paid one, but does offer reimbursements for travel, meals, lodging and other incidentals, so the question has to be asked. Was Tom Noe turning in travel expenses he incurred while helping out the Bush campaign in the 2004, and was the US Mint also paying the bills for these meals in the Caucus Room? From The Blade:

Mr. Noe told Ms. Marchessault that he had reserved the back room at the Caucus Room and “it is under my name and company name … will be about 15 to 20 people there … we get in at 5 p.m. on private plane at [Baltimore-Washington International Airport].”

Fifteen to twenty people at the Caucus Room with wine, and they have over 4,000 varieties, is probably going to land you a four figure check.

The Treasury Department is investigating.

Moving Out

One statistic in a New York Times article about the newly homeless living in their cars stood out to me. From The Times:

Last year was the first year on record, according to an annual study conducted by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, that a full-time worker at minimum wage could not afford a one-bedroom apartment anywhere in the country at average market rates.

I think it's well past time that our government has a serious debate about raising the federal minimum wage in this country, which has remained stagnant at $5.15 per hour since 1997. With the exception of a couple years where the minimum wage was modestly raised, the purchasing power of a minimum wage job has fallen every year since 1968. In fact, a minimum wage job of 2005 had only 58% of the purchasing power of a 1968 one.

Under Bill Clinton, while the government did raise this wage twice by a total of 90 cents, the federal government basically punted on the issue, handing it off to the state legislatures. Here in Ohio, our generous government has only this year raised our minimum wage to the federal level.

This gives Democrats a huge opportunity to use this issue much as the right used the gay marriage issue to get their voters to the polls in the last cycle. After all, who wouldn't go to the polls to vote to put a little more money in their wallets.

Indeed, labor and ACORN are doing just that right now by putting forth a Constitutional Amendment on Ohio's November ballot to raise our minimum wage to $6.85 per hour.

All politics aside though, if you have live in your car with a full time minimum wage job, the federal government should act now and not wait fro the states or the people to do their job for them.

John McFlipFlopCain

It was pretty funny watching John McCain disavowing a lot of his previous statements on Meet The Press today. Tim Russert actually asked McCain some tough questions about his past musings, and McCain folded up like a cheap lawn chair.

McCain looked not like his straight talk persona, but that of the worst type of politician, the flip flopper. After viewing McCain on Meet The Press, I came away more strongly believing that he will be a non-factor in the 2008 presidential elections. His opponents in the primary are going to shred him.

Double Digits, Baby!

Whoa, the latest poll out from Rasmussen Reports shows Gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland with a double digit lead over both Ken Blackwell (50-40) and Jim Petro (47-34).

While some of this can be attributed to the highly negative republican primary, that's a pretty substantial lead that should help down ticket races across the board, because if the governor's race is seen as unwinnable, it will be harder to get their voters to the polls in November.

That would in particular hurt Mike DeWine. The Christian right that will show up no matter what, but they hate DeWine. If the soft supporters of the republican party don't show up to support him, he's toast. DeWine currently has a three point lead over Sherrod Brown (45-42) according to Rasmussen.

Hope Springs Eternal

Tomorrow, the great American pastime kicks off its 2006 season. As every baseball fan knows, their team is currently in first place. That will change month by month as the weaker teams fall off the radar.

The same thing is true in politics, the coming months will sort out the contenders from the pretenders. This cycle is a little different from the last couple, this time it is the republicans are the team is disarray, and their number one pitcher is mired in a losing streak. Losses in Baghdad, New Orleans, and Dubai come to mind in particular.

The republicans top pitcher will take to the hill tomorrow in Cincinnati where he will throw out the ceremonious first pitch before my beloved Reds play the Chicago Cubs. Afterward, Bush will sit like a pitcher with a no hitter going, alone, but unlike a pitcher with all his best stuff working, the rest of his team won't go near Bush for fear his negative energy will rub off on their own campaigns.

Republican Senator Mike DeWine, who will also be at the game, laughably had this to say about his avoidance of Bush. From Openers:

The Ohio Republican told reporters on Tuesday that he'd sit with the President "if I'm invited," but added that "a lot of people want to sit with the president."

Yea, a lot of people still do want to sit with Bush, unless you're running for the Senate, in which case he might as well have the plague. If DeWine isn't proudly sitting with Bush in Cincinnati, which is by far the most conservative city in Ohio, then Bush has to be considered a severe problem for republicans not just in Ohio, but also in a lot of other states.

Yea, like they say, hope does spring eternal, but this spring holds a lot more to be hopeful about than the previous two cycles.